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If Snyder and Burroughs win world gold this year...

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In the 1988 Olympics there were 10 weights. In the 2016 Olympics there were 6 weights. In 1988 there was 1 Russian in the brackets. In 2016 there were like 6. The answer to this question is Jordan Ernest Burroughs.

 

A solid point.  That said, I'd still take Smith by a hair.  Russia has always had someone who you felt like was a virtual tossup with JB throughout his career.  Smith always seemed to win against everyone in completely commanding style, like his world final would be 6-0 (back when takedowns were one point).   Made it seem easy against everyone.   Outside of the Cuban who seemed to present some sort of match-up with him I don't recall him ever being in danger of losing internationally. 

Edited by Cradle1

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As far as I know he did. He was beating Neal pretty handily leading up to the 96 games and his biggest threat was probably Erickson who at some points was probably the 2nd best heavyweight in the world.  

The timeline seems off on this.  Stephen Neal was only a redshirt freshman in 1996 and placed 4th at NCAAs as I recall.  Was he really our #2 heavyweight at this time? 

 

With all due respect, no way, no how was Erickson EVER the #2 heavyweight in the World.  Baumgartner won five out of 13 years at the World/Olympic level, a huge achievement to be one of the top contenders for that long, but still it means that he won less than 40% of the time. During the entire run he always had 2 or 3 rivals that he was far from a sure thing against.  Erickson was a mile behind him during this run.... so I completely fail to see that he would have beaten guys who beat Bruce multiple times in some cases.  That 15 year streak is awesome, don't get me wrong, but the depth of the field in the USA (where our top big men have always tended to go the football route) compared to the talent the USA put out at say 136.5 or 163 obviously were not remotely comparable. Can anyone name a challenger other than Erickson?  I mean if Erickson had a history of beating World Medalist please feel free to correct me but that sure isn't my impression. 

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The timeline seems off on this. Stephen Neal was only a redshirt freshman in 1996 and placed 4th at NCAAs as I recall. Was he really our #2 heavyweight at this time?

 

With all due respect, no way, no how was Erickson EVER the #2 heavyweight in the World. Baumgartner won five out of 13 years at the World/Olympic level, a huge achievement to be one of the top contenders for that long, but still it means that he won less than 40% of the time. During the entire run he always had 2 or 3 rivals that he was far from a sure thing against. Erickson was a mile behind him during this run.... so I completely fail to see that he would have beaten guys who beat Bruce multiple times in some cases. That 15 year streak is awesome, don't get me wrong, but the depth of the field in the USA (where our top big men have always tended to go the football route) compared to the talent the USA put out at say 136.5 or 163 obviously were not remotely comparable. Can anyone name a challenger other than Erickson? I mean if Erickson had a history of beating World Medalist please feel free to correct me but that sure isn't my impression.

Erickson was 4th at the 97 worlds. So you would have to think he would certainly be in medal contention the previous years if not for Big Bruce.

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The point is, had smith had to deal with a much deeper weight with many more Soviets, would he have gone 6 for 6?

Would Burroughs have won if Tsargush's backups got to come to Worlds?  

 

When you are trying to medal, then all of the USSR backups make a huge difference, because those guys make it harder to get 3rd place since some of them are top 3 in the world.  But if you are solidly beating their best guy on the way to gold, then I don't think their 2-5 make a giant difference.  Sure one of those guys could have beaten him, but it's extremely unlikely.  When you beat the best in the world 6 for 6, then it's ok to assume you beat less than the world's best 6 for 6.  

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Would Burroughs have won if Tsargush's backups got to come to Worlds?

 

When you are trying to medal, then all of the USSR backups make a huge difference, because those guys make it harder to get 3rd place since some of them are top 3 in the world. But if you are solidly beating their best guy on the way to gold, then I don't think their 2-5 make a giant difference. Sure one of those guys could have beaten him, but it's extremely unlikely. When you beat the best in the world 6 for 6, then it's ok to assume you beat less than the world's best 6 for 6.

I’m not sure he would have. Remember at one point Tsargush himself was a back up behind Saitiev and he was also a back up to Geduev at the Olympics in 2016.

 

Think of it like this, in 2015, 2016 and 2017 every medalist in Kyle Snyder’s weight was from a former Soviet country aside from one the Romanian who BTW was represented by Albert Saritov, also a former Russian who beat Cael in the worlds. So literally every guy who medaled, and that includes both bronzes were from former Soviet states. Every one! Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia. You don’t think it would have been much easier for Snyder to win world titles in the 80s?

Edited by AnklePicker

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I’m not sure he would have. Remember at one point Tsargush himself was a back up behind Saitiev and he was also a back up to Geduev at the Olympics in 2016.

 

Think of it like this, in 2015, 2016 and 2017 every medalist in Kyle Snyder’s weight was from a former Soviet country aside from one the Romanian who BTW was represented by Albert Saritov, also a former Russian who beat Cael in the worlds. So literally every guy who medaled, and that includes both bronzes were from former Soviet states. Every one! Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia. You don’t think it would have been much easier for Snyder to win world titles in the 80s?

I absolutely agree it would have been easier.  That's why I think titles now are better than titles then. That's why if it was even between a guy in the past and a guy now, I'd give the clear edge to the guy now.    

 

But when a guy wins every single world level tournament he ever entered and you say, "But he didn't beat some guys who might have been top 3-10 in the world", you are reaching.  Especially since in those 6 years Smith faced every top Soviet they could put out there and beat them all.  It's not like they had 1 great backup the whole time who was top 3 in the world but couldn't beat the starter so Smith never wrestled him.  He beat all their best guys at some point during the run.  

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Bruce. Longevity! Was he better than Gable or Cael. NO!!!! But I run a business and that business model with what Bruce did is unmatched! 

I would agree except longevity is different for a heavyweight.  If Gable or Cael could compete without weight cutting then they'd have far more longevity.  Most guys quit for a number of factors, but near the top is they are sick of making weight.  I'm sure if Cael didn't have to make weight but could still wrestle guys with his body size, then he could be competitive today.  

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I would agree except longevity is different for a heavyweight.  If Gable or Cael could compete without weight cutting then they'd have far more longevity.  Most guys quit for a number of factors, but near the top is they are sick of making weight.  I'm sure if Cael didn't have to make weight but could still wrestle guys with his body size, then he could be competitive today.  

True but how many heavyweight Olympic champs have we had? Bruce is in rare company.

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The timeline seems off on this.  Stephen Neal was only a redshirt freshman in 1996 and placed 4th at NCAAs as I recall.  Was he really our #2 heavyweight at this time? 

 

With all due respect, no way, no how was Erickson EVER the #2 heavyweight in the World.  Baumgartner won five out of 13 years at the World/Olympic level, a huge achievement to be one of the top contenders for that long, but still it means that he won less than 40% of the time. During the entire run he always had 2 or 3 rivals that he was far from a sure thing against.  Erickson was a mile behind him during this run.... so I completely fail to see that he would have beaten guys who beat Bruce multiple times in some cases.  That 15 year streak is awesome, don't get me wrong, but the depth of the field in the USA (where our top big men have always tended to go the football route) compared to the talent the USA put out at say 136.5 or 163 obviously were not remotely comparable. Can anyone name a challenger other than Erickson?  I mean if Erickson had a history of beating World Medalist please feel free to correct me but that sure isn't my impression. 

 

No but there was sort of an idea that Neal was the future of the weight class, and I remember reading an article how Neal was a training partner for him and was getting beaten pretty handily.  Bruce even said something to the effect of Neal being the next man up.  Also Erickson beat many world medalists throughout his career.  He even pinned Shumilin in 97 or 98. He may not have been able to beat Bruce, but he was definitely in some years a guy who would have medaled at worlds if he ever made the team.  By the time Bruce retired though Erickson was in the twilight of his wrestling career, so we only got to see him towards the end.  As to whether he would have been as consistent with winning medals as Bruce, that's probably not comparable, but in some years he did wrestle good competition overseas and won, but was stuck behind one of the best ever. 

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No but there was sort of an idea that Neal was the future of the weight class, and I remember reading an article how Neal was a training partner for him and was getting beaten pretty handily.  Bruce even said something to the effect of Neal being the next man up.  Also Erickson beat many world medalists throughout his career.  He even pinned Shumilin in 97 or 98. He may not have been able to beat Bruce, but he was definitely in some years a guy who would have medaled at worlds if he ever made the team.  By the time Bruce retired though Erickson was in the twilight of his wrestling career, so we only got to see him towards the end.  As to whether he would have been as consistent with winning medals as Bruce, that's probably not comparable, but in some years he did wrestle good competition overseas and won, but was stuck behind one of the best ever. 

Don't remember did Neal ever wrestle Erikson? And weren't those Neal Vs Baum practice matches in 1997? 

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In the 1988 Olympics there were 10 weights. In the 2016 Olympics there were 6 weights. In 1988 there was 1 Russian in the brackets. In 2016 there were like 6. The answer to this question is Jordan Ernest Burroughs.

 

That's what I came here to say.  Imagine if the Soviet Union got to bring their top 6 to the Olympics, AND there were only 6 weight classes.  

 

What weight was John Smith?  133 or something like that?  NO way he would have medaled (and he probably wouldn't make the team) if there were 6 weight classes.  121 - no way.  145 - way too small.  

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That's what I came here to say.  Imagine if the Soviet Union got to bring their top 6 to the Olympics, AND there were only 6 weight classes.  

 

What weight was John Smith?  133 or something like that?  NO way he would have medaled (and he probably wouldn't make the team) if there were 6 weight classes.  121 - no way.  145 - way too small.  

You don't think John Smith (62 kg/136.4 lbs) beats out Molinaro (65kg/143lbs)?

Edited by jchapman

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Don't remember did Neal ever wrestle Erikson? And weren't those Neal Vs Baum practice matches in 1997? 

 

When you're getting outscored in practice matches 22-1 I'd say that shows how big of a gap existed between Bruce and Neal at the time.  But Bruce felt that Neal was the future and he was sort of right.  

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What does your all time best American freestyler list look like?

 

1. Smith still or Burroughs? Burroughs would be tied for world golds, have more medal but “only” 1 Olympic gold and he didn’t win them all in a row.

 

2. Baumgartner or Snyder? Baumgartner has 13 medals, 4 at the Olympics and 2 Olympic golds. Crazy. Snyder would have 4 world golds in a row, including an Olympic gold, plus a finals win (maybe 2) over a legend.

 

 

Unless either becomes better, it does nothing for my list.    Now if you're asking about greatest, that absolutely has to be looked at.   Keep in mind,

 

Best = high water mark in level of wrestling.   

 

Greatest = resume.   Who accomplished the most.     

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Burroughs at his peak, circa 2013 I think, was a complete force of nature.  Nobody was even close.  I never watched Smith in person but I imagine it was similar.  As much as I love Snyder he's never been untouchable like JB was at the time, at least not yet. 

 

That said, his resume is already absurd.  Has anyone ever won 3+ straight World titles and also won Yarygin every year?  

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Burroughs at his peak, circa 2013 I think, was a complete force of nature.  Nobody was even close.  I never watched Smith in person but I imagine it was similar.  As much as I love Snyder he's never been untouchable like JB was at the time, at least not yet. 

 

That said, his resume is already absurd.  Has anyone ever won 3+ straight World titles and also won Yarygin every year?  

 

Yeah this is pretty close to how I see it.  Current Burroughs isn't as good as that 2013 or around there Burroughs and unless he gets better, no amount of future winning mean he's better.  It means he's winning despite not  being as good as he was.     

 

I've got Smith as our best.  I've yet to see someone better.   He's also our greatest to this point  but I think Snyder is going to catch him.   

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Burroughs won a world title with screws in his ankle 4 weeks after he broke it.  He also won a world bronze after he tore up his knee in the first round (and that is the only time that Tsargush was able to beat him).  Add all his accomplishments together and, as the title of the thread says, if he wins a world title this year, he is in the argument as the best US wrestler ever.  The era of 6 weights and multiple soviets in one weight class, adds a dimension that was not there in years past.  John Smith is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, as I grew up just a few years younger.  But, even if he could beat the top level Russian, having to wrestle multiple former Soviets in the same tourney takes a tole.  Not saying he would not still win, but it sure would make it much more difficult. 

 

With this year's World Gold, I would put Burroughs neck and neck with Smith. 

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That's what I came here to say.  Imagine if the Soviet Union got to bring their top 6 to the Olympics, AND there were only 6 weight classes.  

 

What weight was John Smith?  133 or something like that?  NO way he would have medaled (and he probably wouldn't make the team) if there were 6 weight classes.  121 - no way.  145 - way too small.  

 

Did you ever watch John Smith wrestle?

 

He would have won no matter the classes. Technically superior and though he looked like an accountant who moonlights as a Church Choir director he was tough as nails. He let his wrestling do the talking and did nothing but win World Titles - six times in a row.

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